US Vice-President Mike Pence is “ignorant and stupid” and risks “nuclear showdown,” a senior North Korean official said ahead of talks between the two sides next month.
In an article in state-owned news agency KCNA on Tuesday, Choe Son-hui said Pyongyang would not “beg the US for dialogue” nor try to persuade them to attend talks.
“I cannot suppress my surprise at such ignorant and stupid remarks gushing out from the mouth of the US vice-president,” said Choe, who has been involved in several diplomatic interactions with the US over the past decade.
“We will neither beg the US for dialogue nor take the trouble to persuade them if they do not want to sit together with us.”
Her remarks are in response to Pence’s earlier comments warning North Korea that it could end up like Libya if it fails to make a nuclear deal with Washington.
“There was some talk about the Libyan model last week, and you know, as the President made clear, this will only end like the Libyan model ended if Kim Jong Un doesn’t make a deal,” Pence said Monday, referencing National Security Adviser John Bolton’s earlier comments on Libya.
When it was noted that the comparison could be interpreted as a threat, Pence told Fox News: “Well, I think it’s more of a fact.”
The two sides are due to meet at a historic summit on June 12 in Singapore. It will be the first time that a leader of the North Korean regime has met with a sitting US president.
But dialogue surrounding the meet has been shaky in recent days with both sides threatening to call it off if the other side doesn’t play ball.
Many experts have suggested the talks be delayed so a point of understanding between high ranking officials can be met before US President Trump and Kim Jong Un sit down together.
A lack of preparation and understanding could lead to worsening ties and a return to the fiery rhetoric and threats of attack that preceded the arrangement of the summit.
“Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behaviour of the United States,” Choe said in her statement.
Additional reporting by AFP.